Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Winter mountain biking on Heaphy Track permanently approved

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister of Conservation

7 January 2014       Media Statement 

Winter mountain biking on Heaphy Track permanently approved

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced at Karamea on the West Coast the permanent approval of mountain biking on the Heaphy Track from 1 May to 30 September each year.

“The Heaphy Track is New Zealand’s ultimate multi-day mountain biking experience. It traverses dramatic and diverse landscapes from mountain forests, to expansive grasslands and wild West Coast beaches,” Dr Smith says.

“The three-year trial has been a success and it is timely to make it a permanent feature of Nelson and the West Coast’s visitor attractions. Year-round mountain biking has also been approved on two other Kahurangi National Park tracks – the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks.”

Dr Smith first proposed the idea in a letter to the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) in 1998 when he was first the Minister of Conservation and the trial was later introduced on the Heaphy Track in 2010.

“It has been a long and painful process getting the changes to the general rules for National Parks and the necessary amendments to the park plan approved by the NZCA and the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board,” Dr Smith says.

“There has been a lot of debate about the impact of mountain bikers on the track and their interaction with trampers. The reality is that the Heaphy Track and its hut facilities had little use, with only about 500 users during these winter months. The feedback from both bikers and trampers has been that with goodwill and common sense, both can use the track. The damage to the track and the impact on species like Powelliphanta snails was found to be of little difference between bikers and trampers.

“This positive announcement will be particularly welcomed in Karamea and Collingwood. These small centres have benefitted from approximately 2000 people who have biked the track each winter period over the past three years when fewer visitors have been around.
“There has been significant uncertainty since the trial ended in September, and this decision enables the Nelson and West Coast’s visitor industries to plan and market their facilities and services knowing that winter mountain biking is now here to stay.

“Consideration is also being given to extending the mountain biking season from five months from1 May to 30 September, to eight months from 1 March to 30 November, excluding the Easter period. The proposal, put forward by DOC, will be considered at the time of the next Kahurangi National Park Management Plan review in 2014/15.

“This extension is estimated to increase the number of bikers on the track to 4000 per year, and the annual economic benefits to Golden Bay and Karamea from $2.3 million to $3.4 million. I am confident that if we invest in good facilities and track improvements the infrastructure can cope with these increased numbers.

“DOC has also invested in a new hut at Heaphy and four new major suspension bridges on the track. Further track upgrades in the Mackay Hut area are planned for next year. We have also come to an arrangement with the Tasman District Council where DOC will construct three new bridges at a cost of $630,000 on the final five kilometres of metal access road to the Golden Bay end of the Heaphy Track to improve all-weather access.

“I urge bikers not to attempt to ride the track in one day or to underestimate the terrain, and on advice from mountain biking experts, the grading has been raised from intermediate to advanced.

“This confirmation of the Heaphy as a long-term mountain biking winter track is exciting for both the Nelson and West Coast regions. It is these sorts of unique experiences that help define the lifestyle and adventure that makes this part of New Zealand such a great place to live and visit.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news